One_Wing’s Tournament Report – Winter Warfare 2020

An article by    Battle Reports Competitive Play Tactics Warhammer 40k        0

Last week we went through my games at Beachhead Brawl, but the UK tournament calendar is getting ever more stacked and there’s no rest for those of us who want to bring you exciting stories of tabletop warfare. This past weekend saw the Wargaming Guild host their annual Winter Warfare event (last year’s writeup starts here) and I’m hardly going to skip out on a major that’s only one hour’s drive each way, am I?

No rest for the wicked or the Aeldari – let’s see how it went.

Event Details

The event was a 2K point event running absolutely straight up ITC champions missions (1-5 in order).

Normally that would require no further clarification, but on this weekend it does – we were playing last year’s set. Probably the right call given they came out the evening prior, but mildly annoying for those of us who have to prepare hot takes! Still, readers are hopefully very familiar with these, and I’d also like to shout out the ITC Battles App for keeping the old version available for the weekend so we could still use it!

My List

Wraithknight

Oh no, he back

Army List - Click to expand

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ PLAYER: James Grover
+ REPORTED ARMY FACTION: Aeldari
+ TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 13
+ TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 2000
+ POWER LEVEL: 124
+ ARMY FACTIONS USED: Aeldari, Asuryani, Drukhari, Ulthwe, Kabal of the Black Heart
+ TOTAL REINFORCEMENT POINTS: 0
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

== Battalion Detachment == Asuryani, Ulthwe [ 63PL, 1069pts] 5 CP
HQ: Autarch with Swooping Hawk Wings (80), Power Sword (4), Fusion Pistol (7), Forceshield (2), Warlord [5PL] [93pts]
HQ: Yvraine (115) [6PL] [115pts]

TR: 5 Dire Avengers (40), Exarch (0), 5 Avenger Shuriken catapults (15), Exarch Additional Avenger Shuriken Catapult (3), Exarch Power Bladestorm [3PL] [58pts]
TR: 5 Dire Avengers (40), Exarch (0), 5 Avenger Shuriken catapults (15), Exarch Additional Avenger Shuriken Catapult (3), Exarch Power Bladestorm [3PL] [58pts]
TR: 5 Dire Avengers (40), Exarch (0), 5 Avenger Shuriken catapults (15), Exarch Power Bladestorm [3PL] [55pts]

EL: 5 Howling Banshees (35), Exarch (0), 4 Power Swords (16), 1 Executioner (7) [3PL] [58pts]

HS: 7 Dark Reapers (63), Exarch (0), 6 Reaper Launchers (132), 1 Aeldari Missile Launcher (20), Exarch Power Rapid Shot [13PL] [215pts]

DT: Wave Serpent (120), Twin Shuriken Cannon (17), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) [9PL] [139pts]
DT: Wave Serpent (120), Twin Shuriken Cannon (17), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) [9PL] [139pts]
DT: Wave Serpent (120), Twin Shuriken Cannon (17), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2) [9PL] [139pts]


== Battalion Detachment == Drukhari, Kabal of the Black Heart [ 19PL, 284pts] 5 CP

HQ: Archon (55), Venom Blade (2), Splinter Pistol (0) [4PL] [57pts]
HQ: Archon (55), Venom Blade (2), Splinter Pistol (0) [4PL] [57pts]

TR: 5 Kabalite Warriors (30), Sybarite (0) [2PL] [30pts]
TR: 5 Kabalite Warriors (30), Sybarite (0) [2PL] [30pts]
TR: 5 Kabalite Warriors (30), Sybarite (0) [2PL] [30pts]

DT: Raider (65), Disintegrator Cannon (15) [5PL] [80pts]

== Supreme Command Detachment == Asuryani, Ulthwe [ 42PL, 647pts] 0 CP
Specialist Detachment: Wraith Host (-1CP)

HQ: Eldrad Ulthran (145) [8PL] [145pts]
HQ: Spiritseer (55) [3PL] [55pts]
HQ: Warlock Skyrunner (60), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2), Witchblade (0) [4PL] [62pts]

LOW: Wraithknight (285), 2 Heavy Wraithcannons (100) [27PL] [385pts]

The kind of Eldar lists I like to play continue to be in a tough spot. A few people are just about managing (Colin Sherman has put up good results, and I’m looking at Daniel Bradley’s Genghiscon list with interest) but it’s a tough world for combined arms Eldar, as last week showed. People having success are largely (unsurprisingly) spamming Shining Spears or mixing in Skyweavers. I have some of both of these, but am not super inclined to paint lots more.

With that in mind, I decided it was time to take my large robot son out for another spin, the reasoning being:

  • If I try to optimise my combined arms list I’ll probably still limp to a 3-2 finish.
  • If I take the Wraithknight and do well it’s a way better story.
  • You all seem to love reading True Wraithknight Adventures.

There’s also a degree of academic interest to it given that it (and several other things) picked up point cuts in Chapter Approved, and it’s notably now practical to squeeze in a Black Heart battalion as well, if you cut the planes (which I’m happy to do anyway in the current metagame). When I played the list before being CP constrained was definitely one of the issues, and adding a bunch more is generically great, but this list also wants the other things the detachment brings to the table. Nothing to hang back on objectives was another iteration the old versions had and Archons are great for this – they’re characters so hard to snipe out, cheap enough at the new price that you don’t mind using them for the role, and thanks to the shadow field an opponent comitting a unit to trying to take them out is always a risky prospect. The Deep Strike raider has consistently performed for me every time I’ve taken it out. Finally, Vect is obviously a huge asset for an army with a centrepiece model, as it can shut down some of the ways people might try and it out early.

The rest of the list has a similar Wave Serpent core than before, but has switched over to Ulthwe from a custom Craftworld. Without the planes around I’m getting a lot less value from Expert Crafters, and once I’d figured out that I was probably spending my last “big unit” points on Reapers I was struck by the realisation that I probably needed three Farseer casts – Doom, Guide and Fortune, but oh no, I couldn’t afford a second Farseer. Then I remembered that I had Eldrad in my “to-do” pile as a birthday present from a friend and decided to roll with it.

Eldrad in Biel-Tan colours. Credit: Wings

Given that one of the other things the list wants to do is push centrally, an army-wide FNP is also very good (being effectively free Spirit Stones on the serpents). While I’ll talk in detail about the choice over all later on, what I should say up front (to avoid confusion in the games) is that I literally never picked Fortune on Eldrad – in every matchup, I decided I was better on Guide, Doom and Executioner.

The Reapers themselves were added because I wanted a shooting threat that could guarantee a kill turn one going first. Guided up (and possibly buffed by Doom) they’ll usually kill something, and their range of quality targets is incredibly broad. I’m also a fan of the Rapid Shot missile launcher in a Centurion heavy meta, as while a lot of the time the extra variance is bad, when firing at them it’s essentially pure upside, as a low roll doesn’t change your rate of killing them and high rolling a one-shot does. It’s also a few points cheaper, helpful when you’re trying to get under the line in a stacked list like this!

Overall, I was pretty happy with the army on paper (though still aware that it’s obviously not a purely optimal choice), and keen to see how it did on the table.

From a logistical point of view, I almost always made the following power/trait choices:

  • Autarch: Eye on Distant Events, Shard of Anaris
  • Eldrad: Guide, Doom, Executioner, Smite
  • Spiritseer: Protect/Jinx, Smite
  • Warlock: Protect/Jinx, Focus Will
  • Yvraine: Gaze of Ynnead, Word of the Phoenix

Sometimes one of my Archons purchased the Parasite’s Kiss (basically against anyone where I thought stuff it works well on was likely to get in my lines).

Tactics

For each round we’ll cover the following:

  • The Competition – Details of my opponent’s army
  • The Mission – Details of mission and deployment
  • The Plan – how I aimed to play out the game and target priorities.
  • The Summary – how the game played out at a high level
  • The Takeaways – points of interest and things I learnt from the game
  • The Score – my score after the game.

Round 1 – Raven Guard

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium - Space Marines) [38 PL, 666pts, 7CP] ++
+ No Force Org Slot [8CP] +
**Chapter Selection**: Long-range Marksmen, Master Artisans, Raven Guard Successor
Battle-forged CP [3CP]
Detachment CP [5CP]
+ HQ [10 PL, 189pts, -1CP] +
Captain in Phobos Armour [5 PL, 99pts]: Camo cloak [3pts], Master-crafted instigator bolt carbine [6pts], The Vox Espiritum

Chaplain [5 PL, 90pts, -1CP]: 6. Canticle of Hate, Bolt pistol, Jump Pack [1 PL, 18pts], 
Litany of Hate, Master of Ambush, Strategem: Master of Sanctity [-1CP], Warlord

+ Troops [12 PL, 165pts] +
Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts]
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun . 4x Scout w/Boltgun [44pts]
Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts]
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun . 4x Scout w/Boltgun [44pts]
Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts]
 . Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun . 4x Scout w/Boltgun [44pts]
+ Elites [16 PL, 312pts] +
Centurion Assault Squad [16 PL, 312pts]
. Centurion [52pts]: Hurricane bolter [10pts]
. . Flamers [12pts]: 2x Flamer [12pts]
. Centurion [52pts]: Hurricane bolter [10pts]
. . Flamers [12pts]: 2x Flamer [12pts]
. Centurion [52pts]: Hurricane bolter [10pts]
. . Flamers [12pts]: 2x Flamer [12pts]
. Centurion [52pts]: Hurricane bolter [10pts]
. . Flamers [12pts]: 2x Flamer [12pts]
. Centurion [52pts]: Hurricane bolter [10pts]
. . Flamers [12pts]: 2x Flamer [12pts]
. Centurion Sergeant [52pts]: Hurricane bolter [10pts] 
. . Flamers [12pts]: 2x Flamer [12pts]

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium - Space Marines) [41 PL, 736pts, 5CP] ++
+ No Force Org Slot [5CP] +
**Chapter Selection**: Long-range Marksmen, Master Artisans, Raven Guard Successor Detachment CP [5CP]

+ HQ [10 PL, 169pts] +
Librarian [5 PL, 88pts]: 2) Enveloping Darkness, 4) Shadowstep, Bolt pistol, Force stave [8pts]
Lieutenants in Phobos Armor [5 PL, 81pts]
. Occulus Bolt Carbine and Bolt Pistol [6pts]: Grav-chute [2pts], Master-crafted occulus bolt rifle [4pts]

+ Troops [15 PL, 255pts] +
Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 85pts]: Bolt rifle . 4x Intercessor [68pts]
. Intercessor Sergeant [17pts]
Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 85pts]: Bolt rifle . 4x Intercessor [68pts]
. Intercessor Sergeant [17pts]
Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 85pts]: Bolt rifle . 4x Intercessor [68pts]
. Intercessor Sergeant [17pts]

+ Elites [16 PL, 312pts] +
Centurion Assault Squad [16 PL, 312pts]
. Centurion [52pts]: Hurricane bolter [10pts]
. . Flamers [12pts]: 2x Flamer [12pts]
. Centurion [52pts]: Hurricane bolter [10pts]
. . Flamers [12pts]: 2x Flamer [12pts]
. Centurion [52pts]: Hurricane bolter [10pts]
. . Flamers [12pts]: 2x Flamer [12pts]
. Centurion [52pts]: Hurricane bolter [10pts]
. . Flamers [12pts]: 2x Flamer [12pts]
. Centurion [52pts]: Hurricane bolter [10pts]
. . Flamers [12pts]: 2x Flamer [12pts]
. Centurion Sergeant [52pts]: Hurricane bolter [10pts] 
. . Flamers [12pts]: 2x Flamer [12pts]

++ Spearhead Detachment +1CP (Imperium - Space Marines) [37 PL, 597pts, 1CP] ++
+ No Force Org Slot [1CP] +
**Chapter Selection**: Long-range Marksmen, Master Artisans, Raven Guard Successor Detachment CP [1CP]

+ HQ [5 PL, 63pts] +
Lieutenants [5 PL, 63pts]
. Lieutenant [5 PL, 63pts]: Chainsword, Master-crafted boltgun [3pts]

+ Heavy Support [32 PL, 534pts] + Centurion Devastator Squad [24 PL, 350pts]
. Centurion [70pts]: Grav-cannon and grav-amp [20pts], Hurricane bolter [10pts]
. Centurion [70pts]: Grav-cannon and grav-amp [20pts], Hurricane bolter [10pts]
. Centurion [70pts]: Grav-cannon and grav-amp [20pts], Hurricane bolter [10pts]
. Centurion [70pts]: Grav-cannon and grav-amp [20pts], Hurricane bolter [10pts]
. Centurion Sergeant [70pts]:Grav-cannon and grav-amp [20pts], Hurricane bolter [10pts]

Thunderfire Cannon [4 PL, 92pts]
. Techmarine Gunner [37pts]
. . Servo-harness [11pts]: Flamer [6pts], Plasma cutter [5pts]

Thunderfire Cannon [4 PL, 92pts]
. Techmarine Gunner [37pts]
. . Servo-harness [11pts]: Flamer [6pts], Plasma cutter [5pts]
++ Total: [116 PL, 1,999pts, 13CP] ++

No soft landing here huh?

The Mission

ITC Mission 1 – Seize Ground (bonus for holding/contesting five objectives)

Frontline Assault deployment

Not wild about this as a deployment setup – I’d like to be able to backline more (so Hammer and Anvil or a corner deployment) as I want to force his inevitable teleporting Centurions to at least be strung out away from his army. I’m also going to be on the back foot for at least a few turns, so he’ll potentially rack up decent points.

The Plan

So the good news is that of the two meta nasty marine lists, this is definitely the one I’m more keen to play against. Iron Hands will just sweep my army off the table with the first turn, but this is an actual game (first or second), largely because the Wraithknight is actually good here.

Neither kind of Centurion can reasonably take him straight off the board after teleporting (I can screen against Assault ones, and Vect the Grav ones), and him stomping on a Doomed/Jinxed squad is going to mess them up bad, especially if I boost his attacks. Combined with the number of mortals my army throws out, counterattacking against an Assault squad is a plausible prospect, and though I’ll probably lose stuff to them there’s a good chance it’ll be less than what they kill if I screen properly (though the deployment map makes that a lot more of a pain).

Basically, if I go first here I can build out a pretty wide screen and pick up a lot of his objective contesters, and if I go second I think I can mount a sufficient counterattack to sweep each squad of Centurions off the board after they come in, and then push out to win the game. If I can keep the Wraithknight alive through all of this he has nothing else that really kills it (no random smash captain or anything) and the rampage can then begin.

My Secondaries

  • Headhunter
  • Gangbusters
  • Old School (he has a tonne of scouts, will be aggressive with his warlord and I ain’t committing to recon here)

Their Secondaries

  • Headhunter
  • Engineers
  • Butcher’s Bill

The Summary

The assault begins, while the rest of the Raven Guard display customary sneakiness

He took the first turn, and as expected teleported an Assault Centurion squad up to slam into two screening Serpents on the left and tear them up, putting the others in deep strike. So far so wearable – I would have been happy with just that but unfortunately he also rolled a super smite for 6MW into my Raider that was screening the other side, letting him kill it off along with most of my Kabalites inside (the third squad I’d put into deep strike for a later objective grab).

On the left flank I got out my reapers and buffed them up, shielded up the Wraithknight and took the Centurions and the chaplain off the board. Annoyingly, he tried to shoot out a Thunderfire he could see but my opponent made a 6+ and I low-rolled damage. My banshees went up to try and wrap his captain (who’d come up to buff the cents) but unfortunately rolled very badly on saves and lost enough that they could no longer tri-point him. On the right, I had to wave some Dire Avengers across just to screen for a bit, but was a bit worried that without the Raider and contents I wouldn’t be able to contest enough objectives.

Happily, I got my own lucky break on turn two that put me firmly back into the game. He brought in the rest of his Centurions, and my Reapers intercepted the Grav ones and killed three thanks to a one-shot from the Exarch’s Krak missile and some bad saves. That meant I could skimp on Vecting their shooting into the Wraithknight and they did very little. The Assault Centurions shot the Reapers to death and wasted another Serpent, but things were very much game on. Between a psychic onslaught and the Wraithknight’s melee I took out the squad, and put my Autarch into the Grav squad to hold them up, even killing one. I also took out a Thunderfire, while on the right side of the board my units danced around to ensure I drew on holding objectives.

That meant that as the dust cleared on turn 2, one Centurions was left, a massive chunk of the non-character/Wraithknight units in my army were dead and my opponent had a decent lead.

Survivors are hunted down and trodden on.

However, it turned out that being left with a Wraithknight with a massive blob of smite death following it around when your opponent has nothing left that can kill it is enough. My opponent finished off my stragglers for kill and hold more on turn three, but after that killed nothing else for the rest of the game – between turns three and four I vapourised or stomped on everything he had left on the board other than thunderfire gunners and one intercessor squad, leaving me able to take a four point turn on 4, 5 pointers on 5 and 6 and max my secondaries, taking the win.

The only remnants

The Takeaways

I love it when a plan comes together. This game felt good, and was one of those ones where it actually felt like I won because of the Wraithknight rather than in spite of it. My calculations were 100% correct – he couldn’t safely exterminate it turn 1, and if I could get past the Centurions with it still active it could clean up.

My new best friend

This game also immediately made me fall in love with Eldrad – he’s an absolute monster and was (spoilers) easily the MVP of my whole event, this game included. Being able to have the utility powers you want and Executioner is a huge help in general and great for this list in particular.

Very happy with how this went.

The Score

32-24

1-0

Round 2 – Tau

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

++ Supreme Command Detachment +1CP (T'au Empire) [16 PL, 368pts, 1CP] ++ + No Force Org Slot [1CP] +
Detachment CP [1CP]
T'au Empire Sept Choice: T'au Sept

+ HQ [16 PL, 368pts] +
Cadre Fireblade [2 PL, 62pts]: Markerlight [3pts] . 2x MV4 Shield Drone [20pts]
Cadre Fireblade [2 PL, 62pts]: Markerlight [3pts] . 2x MV4 Shield Drone [20pts]
Commander in XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit [9 PL, 174pts]: Advanced targeting system [6pts], 4x Fusion blaster [56pts], Velocity tracker [2pts]
. 2x MV4 Shield Drone [20pts]

Ethereal [3 PL, 70pts]: Honour blade, Hover drone [1 PL, 5pts], Warlord . 2x MV4 Shield Drone [20pts]

++ Outrider Detachment +1CP (T'au Empire) [15 PL, 534pts, 4CP] ++ + No Force Org Slot [4CP] +
Battle-forged CP [3CP]
Detachment CP [1CP]

T'au Empire Sept Choice: T'au Sept + HQ [9 PL, 174pts] +
Commander in XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit [9 PL, 174pts]: Advanced targeting system [6pts], 4x Fusion blaster [56pts], Velocity tracker [2pts]
. 2x MV4 Shield Drone [20pts]

+ Fast Attack [6 PL, 360pts] +
Tactical Drones [2 PL, 120pts]
. 10x MV4 Shield Drone [100pts] . 2x MV7 Marker Drone [20pts]
Tactical Drones [2 PL, 120pts]
. 10x MV4 Shield Drone [100pts] . 2x MV7 Marker Drone [20pts]
Tactical Drones [2 PL, 120pts]
. 10x MV4 Shield Drone [100pts] . 2x MV7 Marker Drone [20pts]

++ Vanguard Detachment +1CP (T'au Empire) [56 PL, 1,098pts, 1CP] ++ + No Force Org Slot [1CP] +
Detachment CP [1CP]
T'au Empire Sept Choice: T'au Sept

+ HQ [9 PL, 174pts] +
Commander in XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit [9 PL, 174pts]: Advanced targeting system [6pts], 4x Fusion blaster [56pts], Velocity tracker [2pts]
. 2x MV4 Shield Drone [20pts]

+ Elites [44 PL, 884pts] +
Firesight Marksman [1 PL, 25pts]: Markerlight [3pts], Pulse pistol [1pts]
Firesight Marksman [1 PL, 25pts]: Markerlight [3pts], Pulse pistol [1pts]

XV104 Riptide Battlesuit [14 PL, 278pts]: 2x Smart missile system [30pts], Advanced targeting system [18pts], Heavy burst cannon [35pts], Velocity tracker [10pts]
XV104 Riptide Battlesuit [14 PL, 278pts]: 2x Smart missile system [30pts], Advanced targeting system [18pts], Heavy burst cannon [35pts], Velocity tracker [10pts]
XV104 Riptide Battlesuit [14 PL, 278pts]: 2x Smart missile system [30pts], Advanced targeting system [18pts], Heavy burst cannon [35pts], Velocity tracker [10pts]

+ Fast Attack [3 PL, 40pts] +
Pathfinder Team [3 PL, 40pts]
. 5x Pathfinder [40pts]: 5x Markerlight [15pts]
++ Total: [87 PL, 6CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Mission

ITC Mission 2 – Cut to the Heart (bonus for holding central and opponent’s objective)

Hammer and Anvil deployment

Both of these hugely favour me. With no troops in his list I can play the objective game extremely well with the second turn, and the deployment allows me to backline enough that he can’t just Kau’yon.

The Plan

Boy that’s a lot of Drones. Here my plan is basically just to play the ITC mission hard. While he has infinite drones, quite a lot of them are in 2-model units, so I can tailor how many kills I pick up by taking them out. Meanwhile, all I need is to push one troop model onto the central objective each turn to secure hold more. There’s a good chance he whittles away a lot of my army, but I should be able to win on points barring absolutely horrific rolls.

The biggest threat to me are the Coldstars, which will mess up Serpents better than anything else he has. Hopefully they’ll come out to try and fight my Wraithknight. They can hurt it bad with a high roll, but probably won’t kill it, and honestly even losing it would be worth it if I get to then vapourise his biggest threats.

My Secondaries

  • Headhunter
  • Recon
  • Marked for Death (1 Coldstar, Riptides)

Their Secondaries

  • Headhunter
  • Recon
  • Titan Slayers

The Summary

The Tau push aggressively

Credit to my opponent – they recognised that allowing me to drip feed stuff into the board centre would just lock them out of the game, and used Mont’ka to move aggressively up to control it, while the Coldstars went out Wraithknight hunting. Sadly for him they botched this badly (though he did take out a Serpent with one), allowing the Knight to turn around and kill two of them (the last jump jetted back), also sucking up fire on the next turn.

Coldstars swing and miss

It’s good that that went well, as the other parts of my damage output didn’t do so hot. Despite one Riptide being out and in their firing line, Eldrad and Yvraine proceeded to drop a mighty two MW on it between them over my first two psychic phases, leaving them alive, well and chewing through my stuff for way longer than I wanted.

Despite this, my thoughts about the favourability of the matchup entirely bore out – by carefully picking off Drone units and dropping the Raider into his backline to take out Firesights and drip feed stuff onto his objective, I was able to take at least one of hold or kill more every turn, usually both, following through to a rather scrappy win which there never really felt like there was much he could do about.

The Takeaways

This showcases why I think the change to Cut to the Heart for the 2020 season is a really good one. With me on the second turn, my opponent’s options for winning this game were extremely limited, as he was never going to get the “more” objectives and I could manage my killing very effectively. However, had he we been playing the new version he would have picked up the bonus all six turns, whereas I would have gone from one turn of it to four. While I still win with that flip in the points, you can see immediately how it starts to level the playing field. Cut to the Heart seems to be the mission where this sort of extreme skew matchup comes up the most, so hopefully the new version improves it.

The Score

32-21

2-0

Round 3 – Dark Angels

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium - Dark Angels) [33 PL, 540pts] ++ + No Force Org Slot +
Chapter Selection: Dark Angels
+ HQ +
Chaplain [6 PL, 90pts]: Bolt pistol, Jump Pack Sammael in Sableclaw [11 PL, 200pts]
+ Troops +
Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts]
. 4x Scout (Boltgun)
. Scout Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Chainsword
Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts]
. 4x Scout (Boltgun)
. Scout Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Chainsword
Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts]
. 4x Scout (Boltgun)
. Scout Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Chainsword
+ Heavy Support +
Rapier Carrier [4 PL, 85pts]: 2x Space Marine Gunner . Rapier Carrier: Quad launcher
++ Air Wing Detachment +1CP (Imperium - Dark Angels) [34 PL, 664pts] ++ + No Force Org Slot +
Chapter Selection: Dark Angels
+ Flyer +
Nephilim Jetfighter [9 PL, 147pts]: Twin heavy bolter, Twin lascannon
Nephilim Jetfighter [9 PL, 147pts]: Twin heavy bolter, Twin lascannon
Ravenwing Dark Talon [8 PL, 185pts]: 2x Hurricane bolter
Ravenwing Dark Talon [8 PL, 185pts]: 2x Hurricane bolter

++ Outrider Detachment +1CP (Imperium - Dark Angels) [50 PL, 796pts] ++ + No Force Org Slot +
Chapter Selection: Dark Angels
+ HQ +
Ravenwing Talonmaster [9 PL, 188pts]: Warlord
. Land Speeder: Twin assault cannon, Twin heavy bolter . Talonmaster: Power sword

+ Fast Attack +
Ravenwing Bike Squad [5 PL, 82pts] 3 Bikers, Sergeant w/storm bolter, 1 w/chainsword, 1 w/plasma gun

Ravenwing Bike Squad [5 PL, 82pts] 3 Bikers, Sergeant w/storm bolter, 1 w/chainsword, 1 w/plasma gun
Ravenwing Black Knights [12 PL, 136pts]: 3x Ravenwing Black Knight 
. Ravenwing Huntmaster: Corvus Hammer
. . Black Knight Bike: Plasma Talon
Ravenwing Black Knights [12 PL, 170pts]: 4x Ravenwing Black Knight 
. Ravenwing Huntmaster: Corvus Hammer
. . Black Knight Bike: Plasma Talon
Ravenwing Darkshroud [7 PL, 138pts]: Heavy bolter ++ Total: [117 PL, 2,000pts] ++

The Mission

ITC Mission 3 – Nexus Control (hold all objectives for a bonus)

Frontline Assault Deployment

Not really what I want. I would much prefer to be able to set up very deep, as the short range on the Dark Talons would then force them to come out of their buff bubbles if they wanted to go after me turn one, hopefully reducing their impact, and also cutting out a lot of his anti-infantry firepower.

The Plan

Dark Talons eh? I remember those. This was up against UK tournament regular Dan Gilbert, who I’ve never gotten a chance to play against before and was looking forward to throwing down with. Much like our own Chase, he’s been a loyal Dark Angels player all the way through the tough times prior to Ritual of the Damned, so I’m glad he’s got fancy ne toys to play with.

His list looks kind of horrific though, and I was hoping pretty hard for the first turn. The new Ravenwing warlord trait allowing you to ignore move/shoot penalties in an aura is extremely good with the planes, making them extremely reliable and deadly when you converge them on the buff auras. Going second, I think there’s a decent chance I just get blown off the board.

Going first it’s more of a game, though the lack of places to hide Dark Reapers makes it pretty tough. They can definitely account for something right out of the gate but he has a lot of things that just murder them. The Wraithknight, also, is only OK here – it’s good at crushing bikes and Land Speeders, but far from ideal at hunting planes.

My Secondaries

  • Big Game Hunter
  • Marked for Death
  • Recon

Their Secondaries

  • Big Game Hunter
  • Old School
  • Headhunter

The Summary

Not sure about this

This game was a hilarious train wreck. Dan went first and yeah it turns out the buffs accumulate to make this planes pretty good. Two of my Serpents, a squad of Dire Avengers and all my Dark Reapers died, effectively ending the game on the spot. The only bright spot was some Black Knights utterly failing to do anything.

A forlorn Wraithknight looks at the pesty mon-keigh sky engines

Realistically I never had much of a route back into the game after that even with good dice and my dice were very much the other thing. Over the course of the game, I failed Vect with a re-roll, twice rolled a double 1 on melta damage into a plane from my Autarch’s pistol, and just generally had every possible thing that could go wrong go wrong. I actually did a decent amount of damage despite this – I shielded up the Wraithknight turn 2 and he proceeded to largely ignore it, focusing on killing everything else instead. While this was totally the correct choice, treading on a Darkshroud, Samael and a bunch of bikes was both funny and therapeutic.

CONCERN

This game was still a hilarious blast despite how badly it went, and Dan proceeded to come within a hair’s breadth of taking a 5-0 finish at the event, losing his last game on table one only because a Dark Talon failed to pick up a long Eliminator on the final turn.

Some amount of therapy at least, as the field is largely swept. Note the 1 remaining wound on the Dark Talon because of course.

The Takeaways

Dark Angels might be back. This list was extremely nasty, and the alpha strike protection that Ravenwing can stack on their planes makes them an attractive prospect in the current metagame. Ben Neal over at Genghiscon managed an excellent finish with planes as well, so it looks like this might be the real deal. Dark Angels players rejoice.

The Score

14-36

2-1

Round 4 – Blood Angels

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

+ HQ [18 PL, 272pts] +
Librarian Dreadnought [9 PL, 142pts]: 1. Quickening, 6. Wings of Sanguinus, Furioso fist [30pts], Storm bolter [2pts], Warlord

The Sanguinor [9 PL, 130pts] 

+ Troops [13 PL, 201pts] +

Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 91pts]: Auto bolt rifle [5pts], Auxiliary grenade launcher [1pts], 
4x Intercessor [68pts]
. Intercessor Sergeant [17pts]: Chainsword

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts]
. Scout [11pts]: Combat knife
. Scout [11pts]: Combat knife
. Scout [11pts]: Combat knife
. Scout [11pts]: Combat knife
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Chainsword, Combat knife

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts]
. Scout [11pts]: Combat knife
. Scout [11pts]: Combat knife
. Scout [11pts]: Combat knife
. Scout [11pts]: Combat knife
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Chainsword, Combat knife

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium - Blood Angels) [27 PL, 5CP, 521pts] ++ 
+ No Force Org Slot [5CP] +
**CHAPTER**: Blood Angels
Detachment CP [5CP]

+ HQ [12 PL, 248pts] +
Astorath [6 PL, 105pts]: Invocation of Destruction, Litanies of Hate
Captain [6 PL, 143pts]: Jump Pack [1 PL, 19pts], Storm shield [10pts], Thunder hammer [40pts] 

+ Troops [15 PL, 273pts] +
Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 91pts]: Auto bolt rifle [5pts], Auxiliary grenade launcher [1pts], 
4x Intercessor [68pts]
. Intercessor Sergeant [17pts]: Chainsword

Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 91pts]: Auto bolt rifle [5pts], Auxiliary grenade launcher [1pts], 
4x Intercessor [68pts]
. Intercessor Sergeant [17pts]: Chainsword

Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 91pts]: Auto bolt rifle [5pts], Auxiliary grenade launcher [1pts], 
4x Intercessor [68pts]
. Intercessor Sergeant [17pts]: Chainsword

++ Vanguard Detachment +1CP (Imperium - Blood Angels) [70 PL, 1CP, 1,006pts] ++ + No Force Org Slot [1CP] +
**CHAPTER**: Blood Angels
Detachment CP [1CP]
+ HQ [4 PL, 70pts] +
Sanguinary Priest [4 PL, 70pts]: Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Jump Pack [1 PL, 10pts]

+ Elites [66 PL, 936pts] +
Sanguinary Ancient [6 PL, 66pts]: Angelus boltgun, Death mask [2pts], Power fist [9pts]

Sanguinary Guard [20 PL, 290pts]
10x Sanguinary Guard w/ Power fists

Sanguinary Guard [20 PL, 290pts]
10x Sanguinary Guard w/ Power fists

Sanguinary Guard [20 PL, 290pts]
10x Sanguinary Guard w/ Encarmine Axes
++ Total: [128 PL, 14CP, 2,000pts] ++

The Mission

ITC Mission 4 – What’s Yours is Mine (central objective and players place two, bonus for holding the ones you place)

Frontline Assault Deployment

 

Nor

Normally this is one of my favourite missions. Here I’m not so sure, although the fact that I want to go second helps.

The Plan

So I was super confident about this matchup overnight (having got the pairings on Saturday evening), because Vect is insanely good in it and if I can stop him getting amongst me turn one (which Vect near guarantees) then I can pick up most of a Sang Guard squad at range, set up the Reapers to intercept and build out a massive screen. I’ll then pick up his units over turns 2 and 3, scoring kill more to counter his holds, then move out to close down the game. Even if a Sang squad does get amongst me, just like with the Centurions as long as they don’t get my psykers or Wraithknight I can counterattack them hard.

Unfortunately I turned up to the table and that plan went straight to hell.

Pictured: a serious problem

Those ruin walls? About 1.9″ thick, so you can totally keep coherency through them.

Yeah so this is about the worst possible board to play this game on. The huge amount of space blocked out that my vehicles can’t sit in makes it very hard to screen out without making myself vulnerable to a charge through the walls. I also can’t rely on being able to line up Reaper intercepts, and in order to put out the amount of screening I need I basically have to make myself vulnerable to charges.

Ultimately this doesn’t change the plan much – I just have to accept that I’m going to have a harder time of it and if my dice go cold it’ll cost me big.

My Secondaries

  • Marked for Death (Sang Guard, Libby Dread)
  • Headhunter
  • Recon (this was the wrong choice, should probably have been Old School)

Their Secondaries

  • Headhunter
  • Butcher’s Bill
  • Recon

The Summary

My dice went cold and, as predicted, that combined with the terrain to screw me over. This started out fine – I put him on first turn, Vected the Wings of Fire and then killed off most of a Sanguinary Guard squad. Annoyingly I missed Jinx, so one lived (denying me a MfD point), but if the game went well from there I could pick them up later.

About to get shot up

Sadly, it didn’t. On his turn the second squad came in and went for a very wide charge through the walls, tagging a bunch of stuff. He’d been very ambitious with his targets, and one of my serpents did limp through the combat alive, giving me options – until the second one blew up (through a re-roll), finishing off the first and just generally making a mess. The one bright spot is that his Libby dread did very little, and my knight whiffed in response, probably actally a good thing as it meant he didn’t get to fight again on death!

A blood bath ensues

I pulled out of combat with the Libby to re-charge into the other guard, but from here on out my dice were just ice cold, most notably my d3 rolls from smites and other damage rolls being stuck on 1s. I did just clear the Sang guard out using the Wraithknight melee strat combo to put something like 25 stomp wounds into them. It is a mark of how trash my damage dice were that despite them being jinxed this only exactly killed the squad.from 6 and half models left. At the same time, his captain (on his final wound) tanked 8 saves against Venom blades and killed my Autarch in response – crucially also stopping me consolidating my Archons 3″ up to screen his next squad from being able to charge the Wraithknight.

That sealed the game – his last squad came in and ripped most of the rest of my army apart, and while my characters were able to counterattack and kill all but one model from the squad (agonisingly missing another MfD squad) the game was done.

The Takeaways

Like, I’m perversely happy that my instincts on the terrain were spot on, but this was disheartening, as it was one of those games where I couldn’t catch a break from the moment I arrived at the table. Even with the terrain I think this could have been winnable if my dice hadn’t been so very trash – losing the second Wave Serpent as a screening tool when I did was a massive blow, as was not managing to get the final wound off his captain, costing me both a character and my screening. His list was nasty but I definitely had the tools to take it – hopefully if I rematch with it on a more favourable day things will go differently.

The Score

13-37

2-2

Round 5 – Craftworlds

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Aeldari - Craftworlds) [44 PL, 861pts, 8CP] ++
+ No Force Org Slot + Battle-forged CP [3CP]
Craftworld Attribute: *Custom Craftworld* Masterful Shots & Superior Shuriken
Detachment CP [5CP] 
+ HQ +
Farseer [6 PL, 115pts]: 1. Guide, 3. Fortune, 3. Ghostwalk, 6: Seer of the Shifting Vector, Craftworlds Warlord, Shuriken Pistol, Singing Spear, Faolchu’s Wing.
Farseer Skyrunner [7 PL, 137pts]: 2. Doom, 4. Executioner, 6. Impair Senses, Shuriken Pistol, Singing Spear, Twin Shuriken Catapult

+ Troops +
Dire Avengers [3 PL, 58pts]
. 4x Dire Avenger: 4x Avenger Shuriken Catapult
. Dire Avenger Exarch: Two Avenger Shuriken Catapults . . Exarch Power: Bladestorm
Dire Avengers [3 PL, 58pts]
. 4x Dire Avenger: 4x Avenger Shuriken Catapult
. Dire Avenger Exarch: Two Avenger Shuriken Catapults . . Exarch Power: Bladestorm
Dire Avengers [3 PL, 58pts]
. 4x Dire Avenger: 4x Avenger Shuriken Catapult
. Dire Avenger Exarch: Two Avenger Shuriken Catapults . . Exarch Power: Bladestorm

+ Heavy Support +
Dark Reapers [13 PL, 284pts]
. 8x Dark Reaper: 8x Reaper Launcher
. Dark Reaper Exarch: Tempest Launcher . . Exarch Power: Rain of Death

+ Dedicated Transport +
Wave Serpent [9 PL, 151pts]: Crystal Targeting Matrix, Twin Shuriken Catapult, Twin Starcannon

++ Air Wing Detachment +1CP (Aeldari - Craftworlds) [27 PL, 528pts, 1CP] ++
+ No Force Org Slot +
Craftworld Attribute: Alaitoc: Fieldcraft
Detachment CP [1CP]
+ Flyer +
Crimson Hunter Exarch [9 PL, 176pts]: Two Starcannons . Exarch Power: Marksman's Eye
Crimson Hunter Exarch [9 PL, 176pts]: Two Starcannons . Exarch Power: Marksman's Eye
Crimson Hunter Exarch [9 PL, 176pts]: Two Starcannons . Exarch Power: Marksman's Eye

++ Outrider Detachment +1CP (Aeldari - Craftworlds) [34 PL, 608pts, 1CP] ++ + No Force Org Slot +
Craftworld Attribute: Saim-Hann: Wild Host
Detachment CP [1CP]

+ HQ +
Warlock Skyrunner [4 PL, 62pts]: 0. Smite, 5. Quicken/Restrain, Shuriken Pistol, Twin Shuriken Catapult, Witchblade

+ Fast Attack +
Shining Spears [14 PL, 270pts]
. 8x Shining Spear: 8x Laser Lance, 8x Twin Shuriken Catapult . Shining Spear Exarch: Laser Lance, Twin Shuriken Catapult
. . Exarch Power: Swooping Dive

Windriders [12 PL, 207pts]
. 9x Windrider - Scatter Laser: 9x Scatter Laser

Windriders [4 PL, 69pts]
3x Windrider - Scatter Laser: 3x Scatter Laser
++ Total: [105 PL, 10CP, 1,997pts] ++

The Mission

ITC Mission 5 – Precious Cargo (move one objective, bonus for holding the opponent’s)

Frontline Assault deployment (no I don’t know what the hell was going on with this).

This broadly favours me. He’s got the range to engage me even if I backline, so extra distance doesn’t help, and the fact that I have more mobile troop options means long edges helps me on this mission. This is good because…

The Plan

This looks tough on paper – he has a tonne of firepower (I really like the list) and a lot of it matches up well against me. It’s also mobile and long ranged enough that there’s a degree to which I’ll have limited control over what I’m killing – it’ll be whatever comes at me.

Anything that does come at me should die hard mind, and what he doesn’t really have is a solid castle. With that in mind, the best way for me to win is probably to repel whatever attack he launches with the spears, then try to roll him backwards while ensuring I’m controlling the objective game with my mobile elements. The crucial thing is to ensure the Spears don’t get first crack at the Wraithknight – from my own experience running them I know getting counterattacked in melee is the way they die, and the Knight should do that just fine.

My Secondaries

  • Big Game Hunter
  • Recon
  • Old School

Their Secondaries

  • Marked for Death
  • Butcher’s Bill
  • Recon

The Summary

Enemy elves

Man, the start of this game was a rollercoaster. I won the rolloff but got seized on – but he then proceeded to advance his Spears up (allowing me to Vect the advance and charge) and throw everything at trying to clear my Dark Reaper serpent to get to the juicy targets inside and missed by a single wound. This was probably the right call on his part, as I’d backlined my Wraithknight out of range of Doom (or at least, safely casting it), but it was a massive swing in my favour. It let me blow apart one of his planes and badly hurt another in response, picking up an early lead and also going shields up on the knight.

Still, my opponent’s list was a vicious one, and on turn 2 he was able to bring the spears up to butcher my Dark Reapers (while I had no similar answer to his) and also pick off some infantry for kill more. I was, however, able to counterattack and take out his farseer, while the Wraithknight and Autarch went into the spears and killed a decent number of them (though not as many as I hoped, leaving enough alive to fall out and kill my Autarch in response).

Most of the spears get killed

Luckily, I’d bought one of my Archons the parasite’s kiss for just this reason, and he was able to gradually finish the job over the next few turns, while the rest of my stuff pushed forward. I was running a little low on stuff but the knight was still mean and keen, and he’d had to expose his farseers to get some stuff off. I killed the Doom caster and continue to put wounds into things with psychic, and while I missed killing the second farseer with my Raider coming in, I took him down to a single wound and left him with very little stuff to stop me making a push for the bonus objective.

An aggressive push

His turn three was also a bit of a stumble, leaving me with just enough pieces left alive to get the game under my control. That got locked in when Yvraine sniped the last wounds off a plane with Gaze, and it blew up (through a re-roll) in the middle of his castle, and letting me clear out the Dire Avengers and tag the Reapers with a Banshee exarch that had tanked his turn. Between my Raider starting to roll up the infantry protecting his bonus, and me successfully repelling the last things from my lines over the next few turns, I was able to follow through and close out the game on my five, with the Wraithknight stomping his final unit (the big Scatter Bike) squad into oblivion.

Final bikes are wrapped up

The Takeaways

Another game which really does hammer home two things: boy is the Wraithknight super close to being actually good, and Eldrad is just wild when he’s not rolling like trash. Having the resilient, multi-phase threat that the Wraithknight represents really does change the dynamic of some games and this is one of them – although I got lucky with the early game, I still think my opponent would probably have been able to take me off the board with room to spare if I’d spent the points on something like planes of my own or Fire Prisms. Instead, if your opponent is forced to prioritise other units or doesn’t manange to take the big lad down early he really will take over a game where there’a a healthy rate of attrition on both sides.

Buying the Parasite’s Kiss for my Archon also turned out to be a big deal, as it meant that when some spears survived the Wraithknight onslaught I could still afford to send him off where he was needed and rely on the Archon to finish the job (which he did).

All in all, a good game for the list.

The Score

34-20

3-2

Final Score

3-2

27th place

Army Thoughts

Yeah, so pretty much as expected – played through to 3-2, and not wildly convinced that a different list would have performed notably differently.

This list also felt really close to being actually good, as well. As predicted, being able to get the Black Heart stuff in was just a gigantic improvement, and while Eldrad didn’t end up doing what I expected him to do, the extra mortal output he represented made him 100% worth it, and I’ll definitely be running as Ulthwe again when I next take a version of this out.

The weakest link in the list felt like the Reapers. They definitely weren’t bad (they almost never are) but I didn’t enjoy how much they gave me a vulnerability to some kinds of firepower that I didn’t otherwise have. They’re also a CP sink if they live, and while the list has a lot more CP than it used to it’s still extremely thirsty for them and I’m not convinced that they’re the right pick. The Banshees also did very little, and while that’s partially because I didn’t hit any Leviathans (which is what they’re here for) the post-event realisation that I could have bought a Venom for the foot Kabalites with the same points and a few tweaks elsewhere was a sobering one.

In terms of how I change things up for the list, I think the most likely think I’ll look at is along the lines of:

  • Reapers out
  • Banshees out
  • 2x Night Spinner with CTM in
  • Upgrade one Avenger squad to a 10-model guardian squad with platform
Night Spinner

Night Spinner. Credit: Wings

The Night Spinners provide that crucial ability to kill something at range if you need a safe T1 kill, can pile in to a Doom/Jinx target efficiently and don’t just die to Thunderfires or hurricane bolters. In addition, in this list they have the extra flex role that if I need an extra blocker to screen one direction of my character blob in a game that’s gone moderately south they can do that in a pinch, as well as zipping up to grab points or Recon in emergencies.

The Guardians are mostly to spend the extra points and add some bodies, but in the same vein of screening characters the fact that you can dismount them and have a 3++ for a turn in a pinch can be helpful for what the list is trying to do. Discipline of the Black Guardians plus the Autarch also let you put a big burst of firepower into something in your face in a pinch.

The other possible add would be to bring back my War Walker squad, either with scatter lasers and something else backing up the rest of the points or with AMLs to be a serious threat. I’m a little worried that they’re too tasty a target as a full squad with missiles, but they do make for a great Guide target and another option for intercept shooting – the one thing I’m a bit sad to lose from taking out the Reapers (although against Centurions you do have the option of intercepting with the big lad himself if you’re feeling lucky). I think I’ll try the Night Spinner build next though – it feels more aligned to what the list wants to do. My tentative plan for my next major is another curve-ball on a completely different angle, but unless something dramatic changes between now and April, there’s a good chance that I’ll take the new Wraithknight build along to St. George’s Champion.

Wrap Up

…and that’s it for now. My next event isn’t till mid March, but don’t worry – that’ll just give me time to get more stuff written on other avenues. I hope you’ve enjoyed episode three of True Wraithknight Adventures, and if you want to get in touch you can reach us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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